Section 1: God
Week 2: God Is Good
Day 4: God’s Holiness and Love Don’t Conflict
Yesterday’s reading closed by asking you to list some of the evil things going on in the world right now. Sadly, there are many you could have chosen. Mass shootings. Children being abused. Human trafficking. Whatever you included in your list, you were likely horrified and angered as you thought about those events. How would we feel if God, however, just shrugged his shoulders and said they were no big deal? Would we truly consider God good if he didn’t see such things as evil and deserving of punishment?
The Apparent Conflict
Because he is holy, God recognizes that sin deserves to be punished. God’s understanding of what sin deserves is, in fact, much better than ours. We’ve been desensitized by our constant exposure to sin in this world, but God hasn’t. As a result, he is better able to truly see sin for what it is and more accurately determine the punishment it deserves.
Here’s the problem, though. We said earlier that love is an essential part of God’s nature. Now we’re saying that holiness is an essential part of his nature as well. But punishment doesn’t seem very loving. So some argue God’s love and his holiness are a contradiction.
God Is Not Conflicted
But, in reality, God’s love and holiness work together. God isn’t conflicted within himself, his holiness pulling him in one direction and his love pulling him in another. Because he is both holy and loving, God simply always does what is both holy and loving.
We get a picture of what that looks like in Christ’s death on the cross. Because God is holy, he had to require that a penalty be paid for our sin. However, because he loves us, God wanted to save us from having to pay that penalty ourselves. So he went to the cross to pay the penalty on our behalf.
In doing so, he remained faithful to both aspects of his goodness. He treated sin with the seriousness it deserved, while at the same time providing a way for us to be saved. By insisting that a price be paid for sin, God demonstrated his justice and holiness. By paying that price himself, he demonstrated his love.
Would God be as good if he didn’t hate sin as much as he does? Would he be as good if he hadn’t been willing to pay the price for sin himself?
Praise God for being so good that he was able to bring his holiness and love together on the cross.